Showing posts with label Propagandaministerium. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Propagandaministerium. Show all posts

Das Regierungsviertel

Hitler's Bunker and Chancellery has its separate entry
Footage of postwar Berlin showing Wilhelmstraße, Berliner Stadtschloss, Friedrich der Große, Berliner Dom, Brandenburger Tor, Funkturm Olympiastadion and Märzfeld.

Unter Den Linden 72-73: Reichsinnenministerium

From 1837 two buildings together housed the Prussian Interior Ministry, which Hermann Goering assumed control of in 1933. Through it he controlled the Prussian police force numbering 50,000 'auxiliary policemen', mostly recruited form the SA and ϟϟ and used to persecute opponents. On November 1, 1934 it was merged with the Reich Interior Ministry headed by Wilhelm Frick who was responsible for drafting many of the "Gleichschaltung" laws that consolidated the Nazi regime and was instrumental in passing laws against Jews such as the notorious Nuremberg Laws, in September 1935. He was succeeded in the post in 1943 by Himmler.
Annex of the former Reich Ministry of the Interior at Dorotheenstraße No. 93, later used by the GDR Ministry of Justice and now by the Bundestag. The building was constructed from 1935 to 1937 to a design by Konrad Nonn who had been a NS party member and activist of the Kampfbund Deutscher Architekten und Ingenieure. It was one of the first government buildings erected by the Nazis.
Architecture was not the only aspect of nazi rule that survived. As  Paul Meskil wrote in 1961 in his book Hitler's Heirs: Where Are They Now? (page 112):
[Chancellor Konrad] Adenauer's chief personal aide is Dr. Hans Globke, State Secretary of the Bonn Chancellery. Though not a member of the Nazi Party, he was a high official of the Nazi Interior Ministry and co-author of a legal interpretation of the 1935 Nuremberg racial laws. Those laws, defining a Jew as anyone with a Jewish grandparent, laid the legal basis for the persecution of all Jews in Germany.

Wilhelmstrasse, site of the Third Reich's most important ministries and embassies. Apart from the Air Ministry, all the major public buildings along the Wilhelmstrasse were destroyed by Allied bombing during 1944 and early 1945. The Wilhelmstrasse as far south as the Zimmerstrasse was in the Soviet Zone of occupation, and apart from clearing the rubble from the street little was done to reconstruct the area until the founding of the GDR in 1949. The communist GDR regime regarded the former government precinct as a relic of Prussian and Nazi militarism and imperialism, and had all the ruins of the government buildings demolished in the early 1950s. In the late 1950s there were almost no buildings at all along the Wilhelmstrasse from Unter den Linden to the Leipziger Strasse. In the 1980s, apartment blocks were built along this section of the street.
Before and after the war

In August 1934 and today

As depicted in the final days of the war in the film Der Untergang

Wilhelmstraße 62: Reichskolonialamt
Site of the former headquarters of the Reich Colonial office, set up to reclaim the colonies lost through the treaty of Versailles.

Wilhelmstraße 64: Central Office of the Führer's Deputy
(Rudolf Hess's HQ)

Wilhelmstrasse 64 then and in 2007. Built by Carl Vohl in 1903, the building used to be the liaison office of the Prussian king and the kaiser to the government, housing the Privy Civil Cabinet of the Prussian king and German Emperor. During the Weimar Republic the building served as part of the Prussian Ministry of State. Between 1922 to 1932 Prussian Minister President Otto Braun of the Social Democrat Party lived and worked here. From 1932 to 1933 the president of the Prussian Council of State (and future West German chancellor) Konrad Adenauer, used this as his apartment whilst serving as a Centre Party politician and chief mayor of Cologne. Upon taking power, this is where Hitler put Ribbentrop's office and the Nazis' liaison office, both under the authority of deputy Fuhrer Rudolf Hess who was made responsible for ensuring that all laws, statutes, regulations, promotions and so forth conformed to National Socialist ideology.
Up to 1932 he held no rank in the party but belonged rather to Hitler’s personal retinue, as head of his private chancellery. As was his wish, he stood in the Führer’s shadow, high enough for his secretly burning ambition and yet as concealed as his insurmountable shyness demanded. To most people’s surprise, in December 1932, after the fall of Gregor Strasser, Hitler thrust him a little out of this shadow to head the newly formed Political Central Commission, and very soon afterwards, in April 1933, appointed him his deputy. 'Up to then,’ as the Frankfurter Zeitung wrote, 'he had been credited only with the tasks of an adjutant, or more accurately, absolutely no mental picture has been connected with his name.’
After his mysterious flight t0 Scotland in 1941, Martin Bormann took over. After the war the building's damage was repaired and the building was used as a student residence. Until 1970 the East German State Secretariat for Professional Schools was based here, followed by the East German state publishing house until the demise of the DDR in 1990. It now serves as the Berlin office of the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection.

Wilhelmstraße 65: Reichsjustizministerium
Under the Nazis the Prussian Ministry of Justice was merged with the Reich Ministry of Justice and headed by Franz Gürtner who was responsible for coordinating jurisprudence in the Third Reich. Detesting the cruel ways of the Gestapo and SA in dealing with prisoners of war, he protested unsuccessfully to Hitler, nevertheless staying on in the cabinet, hoping to reform the establishment from within. Instead, he found himself providing official sanction and legal grounds for a series of criminal actions under the Hitler administration. His successor, Otto Thierack, forwent any pretence of legality and simply began handing undesirable groups over to the ϟϟ having come to an understanding with Heinrich Himmler that certain categories of prisoners were to be, to use their words, "annihilated through work". Lengthy paperwork involved in clemency proceedings for those sentenced to death was greatly shortened and, at his personal instigation, the execution shed at Plötzensee Prison in Berlin was outfitted with eight iron hooks in December 1942 so that several people could be put to death at once by hanging. At the mass executions beginning on 7 September 1943, it also happened that some prisoners were hanged "by mistake". Thierack simply covered up these mistakes and demanded that the hangings continue. The building was demolished in 1950 after having been badly damaged during the war, and today the site serves as the embassy of Afghanistan.

Wilhelmstraße 68: Reichsministerium für Wissenschaft, Erziehung und Volksbildung
The Reich Ministry of Science and Public Education in July, 1943 and the site today. It was headed by Bernhard Rust who had tried to bring the school system into line with Nazi ideology whilst discharging those regarded as politically or racially "undesirable" from scientific and research work. The building received minimal damage during the war and in August 1945, some of its rooms were set aside for the German Central Authority for Public Education. In October 1949 upon the official creation of the DDR, this became the East German Ministry of Public Education. From 1963 until 1989 the ministry was headed by the wife of East Germany's last Head of State, Margot Honecker. From 1970 until the dissolution of East Germany in 1990 it housed the East German Academy of Educational Science. Today it serves as offices for members of the Bundestag.

Wilhelmstraße 70:
Embassy of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The Palais Strousberg was designed by August Orth for the railway pioneer Bethel Henry Strousberg. Subsequently the building served as British embassy until its destruction in the Second World War. Today in the growing fears of NSA intrusion, it is the subject of German fears that it serves as Britain’s ‘secret listening post in the heart of Berlin.’
The British Embassy remains at the same spot as it was during the years of crisis. Photos I took for the site British Imperial Flags.

Wilhelmstraße 72: Reichsministerium für Ernährung und Landwirtschaf

Originally this was the site of a palace built in 1735 and obtained by King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia and had been the residence of the Hohenzollern princes until the revolution in 1918. The Reich Ministry for Food and Agriculture (RMEL) from 1919 to 1945. It had been bombed during the war, after which the office became the Federal Ministry for Food, Agriculture and Forests under the communist authorities. It was finally demolished in 1962 and remained vacant until the mid 1980s when the East Germans began building high-rise apartment blocks.
The grounds of the former palace were chosen to become part of the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas)

Aerial photo of the Memorial site
Standing among the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin, designed by architect Peter Eisenman and engineers Buro Happold and consisting of a 19,000 square metre site covered with 2,711 stelae arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field. The stelae are 7.8' long, 3' 1.5" wide and vary in height from 0.2m to 4.8m (8" to 15'9") and were designed to produce an uneasy, confusing atmosphere; a supposedly ordered system that has lost touch with human reason. A 2005 copy of the Foundation for the Memorial's official English tourist pamphlet, however, states that the design represents a radical approach to the traditional concept of a memorial, partly because Eisenman did not use any symbolism. An attached underground "Place of Information" holds the names of all known Jewish Holocaust victims, obtained from the Israeli museum Yad Vashem. They are found underground- not marked prominently, not easy to find, and not integral to the display.
Richard Brody in The New Yorker argues that without knowing beforehand, 
it would be impossible to know what the structure is meant to commemorate; there’s nothing about these concrete slabs that signifies any of the words of the title, except, perhaps, “memorial”—insofar as some of them, depending on their height, may resemble either headstones or sarcophagi. So it’s something to do with death. And as for the title itself—which murdered Jews? When? Where? Does the list include Rosa Luxemburg, who was killed in Berlin by rightist thugs in 1919, or the foreign minister Walther Rathenau, also killed here by rightist thugs, in 1922? Or Isaac Babel and Osip Mandelstam, who died in Soviet captivity? Or, pardon my sarcasm, Claude Lanzmann’s uncle, who was killed in Paris by his jealous mistress?
The title doesn’t say “Holocaust” or “Shoah”; in other words, it doesn’t say anything about who did the murdering or why—there’s nothing along the lines of “by Germany under Hitler’s regime,” and the vagueness is disturbing. Of course, the information is familiar, and few visitors would be unaware of it, but the assumption of this familiarity—the failure to mention it at the country’s main memorial for the Jews killed in the Holocaust—separates the victims from their killers and leaches the moral element from the historical event, shunting it to the category of a natural catastrophe. The reduction of responsibility to an embarrassing, tacit fact that “everybody knows” is the first step on the road to forgetting.
Easyjet was forced to apologise after fashion photographs shot at the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin were published in its in-flight magazine. In the pictures, models pose in designer clothes among the concrete blocks of the "Field of Stelae". The budget airline said it was unaware of the images until they appeared in the magazine, which is published by a company called INK whose relationship with Easyjet was under review.
  Men cruising men. At the Berlin Holocaust Memorial. Note the man bottom left who stripped off. Despite, this, Grindr's CEO Joel Simkhai has declared himself to be "deeply moved" by how app members "take part in the memory of the holocaust"

Wilhelmstraße 74-76: The Foreign Office
    The Foreign Office in 1935 and 1936. Through the Machtergreifung, the personnel policy of the German Foreign Office was subjected to Nazi policy, as was the case with all other Reich ministries. Nevertheless, resistance from the Foreign Service also emerged, for example Rudolf von Scheli, Ilse Stöbe, Adam von Trott to Solz and Ulrich von Hassell.  In its 2010 report Unabhängige Historikerkommission – Auswärtiges Amt, the "Independent Historical Committee - German Foreign Office" concluded that the Office's employees during the Nazi period were less victims but rather actors of national socialism:  
The Foreign Office was [...] not a hoard of resistance. It was also no retreat of old-ministerial bureaucrats, who, under a bad government, would not abandon their country and simply continue their ministry. There was also no targeted infiltration by national socialists, which was not necessary at all. What was more characteristic of AA was the "self-equalisation.       An antidemocratic and an anti-Semitic consensus prevailed among the officials in the Wilhelmstrasse and the Hitler government. The most aristocratic diplomats represented the traditional upper-class anti-Semitism, which was less radical than the genocidal anti-Semitism of the national socialists. But both wanted to overcome the "plague of peace" of Versailles and make Germany a great power again. There were only differences in the assessment of the risk of war.   
In 1939 the office issued a formal statement about the so-called Jewish question as a factor of foreign policy. Among other things,  "[t]he realisation that Judaism in the world will always be the implacable opponent of the Third Reich forces the decision to prevent any strengthening of the Jewish position. A Jewish state [ie: British Palestine] would, however, bring a legal system of international law to world Jewry. "  The research results published in October 2010 by the independent historian commission, convened by the then Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer in 2005, show that "after the attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941, the Foreign Office took the initiative to solve the 'Jewish question' at European level. Eckart Conze (historian and spokesman of the commission) said in a 2010 interview that the Foreign Office "was actively involved in all measures of persecution, deprivation, expulsion and extermination of the Jews from the beginning... The target 'final solution' was already very early recognisable."  
After the end of the Second World War, a number of leading members of the Office in the so-called Wilhelmstraßen process.
Nothing is left of it today, but the Reich Aviation Ministry can be seen in the background

Wilhelmstraße 79-80/Voßstraße 96: Reich Ministry of Transport (Reichsverkehrsministerium)
 Its Wilhelmstraße façade then and within the former yard today
Then and now as seen from Voßstraße. It had been built in 1884-86 by Boeckmann architects as a residential building. In 1925 the house was extended and fitted to the neighbouring German Railway Company. Today it is the only house of the old Voßstraße still existing. With the founding of the Ministry of Aviation on May 5, 1933, the Reichsverkehrsministerium lost the jurisdiction over the Department of Aviation. The Department of Motor Transport and Shipping was divided into two separate departments as Erich Klausener became head of the shipping division. After Klausener's assassination during the so-called Röhm-Putsch on June 30, 1934, the division received a new department head with Max Waldeck at the beginning of 1935. In the same year, the two railway divisions were merged after the head of the administrative department had retired. As of March 20, 1935, the Reichsverkehrsminister (Minister of Transport and Transport) was named "The Reich and Prussian Transport Minister" after the corresponding tasks had been taken over from the Prussian Ministry of Transport. Added to this were other transport tasks from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Agriculture.  The Reichsbahn-Gesellschaft (Reichsbahn Company) was placed under the Act for the Reorganisation of the Reichsbank and the German Reichsbahn Act (Reichsbahn-Gesellschaft) on 30 January 1937, and received the name "Deutsche Reichsbahn". The Reichsbahn committees were taken over to the ministry as department head in the rank of ministerial directors. Until the end of the Second World War the structure changed only insignificantly. In the operational and construction department E II was the unit 21 "mass transport", which from 1940 was responsible for the organization and timetable of the special trains for the deportation of Jews from Germany ordered by the SS. This meant that the Reichsverkehrsministerium was responsible for a substantial part of the Holocaust.


At the western entrance to the subway station "Kaiserhof" at Berlin, Wilhelmplatz (today station "Mohrenstraße", line U2); built 1908 after a design by Alfred Grenander, destroyed in 1936.
For some years a regular daily meeting had taken place in the Propaganda Ministry on the Wilhelmplatz in Berlin, attended by Goebbels, senior officials of the RMVP and liaison and media staff from other minis- tries, the Party Chancellery and the Wehrmacht. These press conferences would normally begin at (although the time could vary from 10.00 am to noon) and lasted for half an hour to forty-five minutes. Goebbels dominated proceedings and the only other regular speaker was the OKW liaison officer who would give a brief account of developments at the front(s). The ministerial conference was very much a platform for Goebbels to perform. The Minister would use the 'conference’ to provide guidelines and detailed instructions for the implementation of German propaganda. It was not intended to offer a dialogue with journalists. As Goebbels widened the scope of his brief during the war the conference expanded from twenty in attendance gradually increasing after the invasion of Russia to fifty or sixty persons.

Wilhelmplatz was built over during the German Democratic Republic era. The Czech Embassy is visible in the foreground of the picture whilst the historic statues have since been reinstated.
A member of the Hitlerjugend on a street sign where Wilhelmstrasse intersects with Wilhelmplatz, and as it appeared after the war.
 Directly across the street is this memorial to Georg Elser, who had concealed a time bomb in the Bürgerbräukeller, set to go off during Hitler's speech on 8 November. The bomb exploded, killing seven people and injuring sixty-three, but Hitler escaped unharmed; he had cut his speech short and left about half an hour early. Elser was arrested, imprisoned for 5 ½ years and executed shortly before the end of the war.

Wilhelmplatz 8-9:
Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda

Rights shows a Berlin postcard actually promoting the site
The bronze statue of Leopold I shown on the right was replaced in 2005 to its current location
The Ministry for Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda (Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda – RMVP), was established by a presidential decree, signed on 12 March 1933 and promulgated on the following day, which defined the task of the new ministry as the dissemination of ‘enlightenment and propaganda within the population concerning the policy of the Reich Government and the national reconstruction of the German Fatherland’. In June Hitler was to define the scope of the RMVP in even more general terms, making Goebbels responsible for the ‘spiritual direction of the nation’. Not only did this vague directive provide Goebbels with room to out-manoeuvre his critics within the Party; it also put the seal of legitimacy on what was soon to be the ministry’s wholesale control of the mass-media. Nevertheless, Goebbels was constantly involved in quarrels with ministerial colleagues who resented the encroachment of this new ministry on their old domain.
Standing in front of the site in 2007.

Currently serving as the German Federal Ministry of Health and Social Security, this is where Goebbels was in charge of cultural institutions, publishing, art, theatre, music, press, radio, and all other media.
The part of the building visible here is the Marschall House, converted by Karl Reichle in 1934 to serve as the entrance area to the Ministry of Propaganda. The walled up archways and windows of today were originally passageways to the main building of the Ministry of Propaganda.
During and after the war, the three arched windows at the front are still recognisable amidst the ruins.
Historic marker outside site (photo taken 2007) and scene from "The Goebbels Experiment" wherein Goebbels discusses how Hitler's power of personality is efficiently distributed through his propaganda machine, creating fear in their opponents.

Wilhelmstraße 81-85: Reich Aviation Ministry (Reichsluftfahrtministerium)
In 1890 Das Preussische Kriegsministerium at Leipzigerstrasse 5 was enlarged by the construction of an huge extension in Wilhelmstrasse. During the Weimar Republic it contained the offices of the Reich Defence Ministry. In 1933 the newly-formed Reich Aviation Ministry headed by Goering moved into it, at which point he ordered the complex destroyed and a monumental new building designed by Ernst Sagebiel constructed on the site, housing 2000 rooms.
During its construction in 1935, as shown in the 1936 series of Winterhilfswerk - Moderne Bauten stamps, and a guided tour of various sites, including the Reichsluftfahrtministerium

Historians have devoted considerable attention to Hitler’s plans for the rebuilding of Berlin, but they have rarely acknowledged their effect on both the face of tourist Berlin and the meaning of a visit to the capital between 1933 and 1945. Yet it is impossible to overestimate the degree to which Berlin’s new buildings – among them, the Reich Chancellery, the Reich Sport Field, the Reich Ministry of Transportation and the Reich Aviation Ministry – became key sights for visitors to the city.
Model of the entire complex and site today. In January 1935, Goering
laid the cornerstone of the new Air Ministry. It would occupy a four-hundred-thousand-square-foot site off the Leipziger Strasse. Hitler personally checked each façade in plaster miniature. Its central longitudinal block and side wings would house four thousand bureaucrats and officers in its twenty-eight hundred rooms. Throughout 1935 the country’s finest architects and sculptors chiselled at heroic reliefs with motifs like “Flag Company,” designed by Professor Arnold Waldschmidt of the Prussian Academy of Fine Arts. The Berliners made smug comments about this extravagance- “Pure and simple, and hang the expense!” was one; “Just humble gold” was another.
David Irving, Göring (216-7)
The building provided the backdrop to the film Valkyrie
As well as to the 2007 film Mein Führer - Die wirklich wahrste Wahrheit über Adolf Hitler (Mein Führer: The Truly Truest Truth About Adolf Hitler), the centre photo showing perhaps incongruously the flags of the EU and German state.
The Main Hall (Ehrensaal) inside then and now. Three days after Reichskristallnacht in November 1938, Goering held a conference here (now the Euro Hall) wherein it was resolved that a thousand million Reichsmarks would be demanded from German Jews to pay for the damage caused by the pogrom.
Reich Aviation Ministry (Goering's HQ). It remains the only major surviving public building in the Wilhelmstrasse from the Nazi era at Wilhelmstraße 81-85, south of the Leipziger Strasse, a huge edifice built on the orders of Hermann Göring between 1933 and 1936 based on a design by Ernst Sagebiel, who shortly afterwards rebuilt Tempelhof Airport on a similarly gigantic scale. One writer has described it as "in the typical style of National Socialist intimidation architecture." It ran for more than 250 metres along Wilhelmstraße, partly on the site of the former Prussian War Ministry that had dated from 1819, and covered the full length of the block between Prinz-Albrecht-Straße and Leipziger Straße, even running along Leipziger Straße itself to join on to the Prussian Herrenhaus, the former Upper House of the Prussian Parliament. It comprised a reinforced concrete skeleton with an exterior facing of limestone and travertine (a form of marble). With its seven storeys and total floor area of 112,000 sq m, 2,800 rooms, 7 km of corridors, over 4,000 windows, 17 stairways, and with the stone coming from no fewer than 50 quarries, the vast building served the growing bureaucracy of the Luftwaffe, plus Germany’s civil aviation authority which was also located there. Yet it took only 18 months to build, the army of labourers working double shifts and Sundays. The first 1,000 rooms were handed over in October 1935 after just eight months' construction. When finally completed, 4,000 bureaucrats and their secretaries were employed within its walls. This building escaped major damage during the war. As one of the few intact government buildings in central Berlin, it was occupied by the Council of Ministers of the new German Democratic Republic in 1949. As such it was at the centre of the popular demonstrations during the workers' uprising of 17 June 1953.
The building from the NSDAP era and taken in 2007

Hitler at the site in 1935 and students in 2013.
Göring during the Tag der Luftwaffe on March 1, 1938

Personal photos taken in 2007. The swastikas have of course since been erased

During the war. Ironically, this was the one building in Berlin not bombed from the air. After the war, the building housed the Soviet Military Administration, followed in turn by the National Economic Commission. On October 7, 1949, the German Democratic Republic was founded in the Great Hall.. Up until 1989 the building served as the East German House of the Ministries, with the complex bordering the Berlin Wall (see below). From 1991 to 1995 the building was used by Treuhand Anstalt, the trustee organisation for the privatisation of former DDR state enterprises. Since 1999 it has housed the German Ministry of Finance.
The central Monument in memory of the 1953 Uprising in the East German Democratic Republic is represented by a groundfloor relief, surrounded by a low barrier, created by Wolfgang Rüppel. The groundfloor monument, in Leipziger Straße at the corner of Wilhelmstraße in front of the Federal Ministry of Finance (officially named the Detlev-Rohwedder-Haus) and an older wall-mounted plaque on the façade itself. Remarkably, Max Lingner's 18-metre long mural "Aufbau der Republik" (Building the Republic) is allowed to remain in situ. (Photos from my 2012 school trip on the anniversary of the uprising).

Haus der Flieger ('House of the Aviators')
The Abgeordnetenhaus von Berlin is the state parliament for the German state of Berlin according to the state's constitution. The parliament is based at the building on Niederkirchnerstraße in Mitte, which until 1934 was the seat of the Abgeordnetenhaus (House of Representatives), the second chamber of the Preußischer Landtag. Goering used it as an officers' club connected to the Air Force on the same block as his own Ministry.
On the evening of March 11, 1938 Göring held a banquet at the Haus der Flieger. He took advantage of the intermissions between the artists’ performances to brief the British Ambassador Henderson and the Czechoslovakian Envoy Mastny on the events in Austria. He did not refrain from giving his word of honour that no like measures were being planned for Czechoslovakia. After midnight in the Chancellery, Hitler accepted the first congratulatory notes on bringing about a turn in the Austrian situation.
Max Domarus (1045) The Complete Hitler

The area in 1945

Topography of Terror

On an empty field between Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse (now renamed Niederkirchnerstrasse), Wilhelmstrasse and Anhalter Strasse is the site where the Gestapo set up its offices its house gaol on Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse 8. In November 1934 the 'Security Service of the Reich SS Leader' (SD) under Heydrich moved his office here where the central institutions of Nazi persecution and terror – the Secret State Police Office with its own “house prison,” the leadership of the SS and, during the Second World War, the Reich Security Main Office – were located. Here Himmler, Heydrich, Kaltenbrunner and their assistants had their desks and decided "on the persecution of political opponents, the Germanisation of occupied territories in Poland and the Soviet Union, the murder of Soviet prisoners of war and the genocide of the European Jews." This is where the Einsatzgruppen had been assembled and where the Wannsee Conference was prepared. "There is no other site where terror and murder were planned and organised on the same scale." (

Stairway and main hall within the Gestapo HQ showing on the right busts of Goering and Hitler

The new exhibition and documentation Centre with the redesigned historic grounds were opened to the public on May 7, 2010 according to a prize-winning design by the architect Ursula Wilms (Heinle, Wischer und Partner, Berlin) and the landscape architect Heinz W. Hallmann (Aachen) on the site of the GESTAPO headquarters on Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse. The Reich’s Main Security Office (Reichssicherheitshauptamt- RSHA) – Nazi Germany’s central authority, established on September 27, 1939, with the aim of coordinating the Nazi terror system during WWII. It consisted of the former Main Security Police Office (Hauptamt der Sicherheitspolizei) and the Main SD Office (SD-Hauptamt). It brought together and controlled all the SD’s and state’s repressive bodies. Headed by R. Heydrich, the RSHA answered to H. Himmler. Following Heydrich’s death, the RSHA was run by Himmler personally until 1943 when it was taken over by E. Kaltenbrunner. The RSHA comprised seven departments: personnel, organisation and administration, security services (SD), internal and external affairs, the Gestapo, criminal police, and others. In February 1944 one of the SD departments was put in charge of Abwehr (counter-intelligence).
The buildings that housed the Gestapo and ϟϟ headquarters were largely destroyed by Allied bombing during early 1945 and the ruins demolished after the war. The boundary between the American and Soviet zones of occupation in Berlin ran along the Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse, so the street soon became a fortified boundary, and the Berlin Wall ran along the south side of the street, renamed Niederkirchnerstrasse, from 1961 to 1989. The wall itself was never removed from the site, and the section adjacent to the Topography of Terror site is the second-longest segment still in place (after the East Side Gallery in Friedrichshain). It is here after the July Plot of 1944 that,
under hideous torture in the Gestapo dungeon in the Prinz Albrechtstrasse in Berlin Colonel von Hofacker broke down and told of Rommel’s part in the conspiracy. ”Tell the people in Berlin they can count on me,” Hofacker quoted the Field Marshal as assuring him. It was a phrase that stuck in Hitler’s mind when he heard of it and which led him to decide that his favourite general, whom he knew to be the most popular one in Germany, must die.

 Shirer (966)

Above ran the Berlin wall and on top was the Airforce HQ and later the Federal Ministry of Finance. On August 13, 1961 the construction of the wall began, which would eventually consist of a barrier system over 150 kilometres in length, built to stop the flood of refugees from East to West. By the fall of 1961, over 2.6 million people had managed to escape across the border between the two sectors. The 200 metre long remnant of the wall here at Niederkirchnerstrasse marked the border between the districts of Mitte (East) and Kreuzberg (West).

Gestapo headquarters on Prinz-Albrecht-Street in 1933 and 1945

and from Wilhelmstrasse 102 before and after the war

Plan of the site from a 1938 map beside an aerial photo of the area from 1954

The bombed out shell of the Gestapo-SS headquarters, 1945 which had been defended by Henri Fenet, the surviving 'Charlemagne' battalion commander. On the right one can see the prison cell windows of the Gestapo gaol in the south wing of the building facing the inner courtyard on Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse 8, in 1945, temporarily walled up after damage caused by bombs. 
Colonel Antonov's 301st Rifle Division began its assault in earnest at dawn on 29 April, not long after the newly married couple in the Fuhrer bunker had retired. Two of his rifle regiments attacked Gestapo headquarters on the Prinz-Albrechtstrasse, a building which had been heavily damaged in the 3 February air raid. In the now standard tactic, a03mm heavy howitzers were brought forward to blast open a breach at close range. Two battalions stormed in and hoisted a red banner, but the Soviet accounts fail to reveal the fact that after fierce fighting and heavy casualties they were forced to withdraw that evening by a ferocious Waffen SS counter-attack. The Russians had no idea whether any prisoners of the Gestapo remained alive inside. In fact, there were seven left who had been specially spared from the horrendous massacre which had taken place on the night of 23 April. 
Beevor (351)
Excavated cells from the basement of the Gestapo headquarters in 1948 and today showing images of political prisoners from the Gestapo archives.
 The excavated cells behind the museum with the Reichsluftfahrtministerium in the background.